I was going to treat myself to a rare lie-in this morning but having gotten out of bed to answer a call of nature (it’s an age thing!) I noticed bright sunlight filtering through the blinds. It would be a shame to waste a lovely sunny Sunday morning so I threw on my walking gear, jumped in the car and headed for the village of Shrewley.
Before the Second World War, Shrewley was a hive of activity boasting a pin factory, coal yard, grinding mill and a large nursery.
Nowadays, Shrewley is a single street crossing over a railway, a motorway and, the object of my attention today, the Grand Union canal.
It is also the home of this ‘odd’ dwelling with a bike on the wall. I’ve no idea why this is so.
It took me a little while to spot the path leading down to the canal which involved a bit of walking up and down the main (only) road.
As I said earlier, the canal passes under the road and from the north end, the towpath splits from the canal where it enters it’s own tunnel, leading up to the road. The horses would have been lead through this tunnel, over the road and down a ramp to rejoin their boat which would have been legged through the 433 yards of Shrewley tunnel.
Once I was on the towpath I continued south bound towards the twenty one locks of Hatton.
Although ‘only’ 116¼ miles to the River Thames, I decided on a shorter walk today of ten miles which is roughly Shrewley to Warwick and back.
For those pedants looking at the photo and doing the maths let me say that this sign is NOT at Shrewley – so there!
After 2.5 miles (for those keeping track) I arrived at Hatton top lock. The twenty one locks were descended beforethe canal turned left on the outskirts of Warwick. There was a handy map beside the towpath for those wanting to explore the town of Warwick with its famous castle, racecourse and antique shops.
Allowing for my initial to-ing and fro-ing I waited until my watch read 5.2 miles before turning around and walking back up the twenty one locks.
This is about the closest I would get to hill work today but the 480 feet of ascent would have to do.
Almost at the top of the flight, I passed the shop / cafe with a few hardy types enjoying the spring sunshine sat outside.
From here on, I seemed to leave civilisation behind as I didn’t see anyone else until I reached the ramp up to Shrewley at the mouth of the tunnel.
The forcasted rain had held off all morning enabling me to enjoy the sunshine on my face and the sight of blue skies. However, as I was within the last mile, the sky darkened and the hail fell.
Luckily, the precipitation did not last long and I got back to the car only slightly damp.
Ten miles all in all to round off a week of nearly forty four miles. Technically, I’m tapering this week ahead of the Charnwood Marathon next Saturday.
Annual total now stands at 612.